With all the colorful summer outfits and accessories from Pitti Uomo and MRket, one might think that this is the only way to dress nowadays. However, business people in leading positions – no matter whether they live in New York, London, Milan or elsewhere, often dress in much more conservative colors and outfits. Personally, I think color is a great way to enhance an ensemble, but often it is overdone. A look at very classic and basic outfits really emphasizes that a clean, proper business suit without any flashy colors is sometimes more elegant than an outfit with loaded with accents.
As such, I would like to present a few gentlemen that are the Anti-Pitti Uomo Man or Anti-Luca Rubinacci in terms of style and color, which I believe makes them all the more interesting. Today, I would like to start with a few Italians, with others soon to come.
For many decades now, Italians have probably been the preeminent men’s fashion leaders in casual and formal business clothes with an informal twist, while they never really excelled in regards to proper evening wear. As such, I want to focus on the looks Italians do best: suits and sportscoats with a casual touch.
Luca di Montezemolo
Luca di Montezemolo (more about him here) is the chairman of Ferrari and a well known style icon in the Western hemisphere. He wears mostly business suits, often in a 6×1 double breasted Fasson with a 9 cm wide silk tie and white or light blue shirts. Of course, his suits are made by a bespoke tailor with a Northern Italian Silhouette: limited drama and no spalla camicia. Even with his suits, he usually wears button cuffs and if he skips the tie, he sometimes unbuttons his cuff buttons. He usually wears his hair a bit longer, but other than that he is anything but flashy. At times, you will also seem him in more casual outfits, wearing a blazer with pewter buttons, khakis and espadrilles. In my opinion, his combinations are the personification of the Italian Industrialist outfit: while the colors are mostly subdued, he always adds an element of casual elegance, creating an overall pleasing look that is classic,
yet not stodgy.
Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo
Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo is the son of Luca. Although he is probably most well known in association with the the luxury furniture brand Poltrona Frau, his style is very similar to his father’s.
He wears a lot of dark business suits with soft shoulders, simple ties and a plain white pocket square.
Every once in a while, he will throw in a knit tie, which is traditionally not worn with a business suit, but this is exactly the relaxed casualness Italians do so well. They combine informal accessories with otherwise conservative outfits – often in gray, blue or even monochromatic color palettes – and create an elegant outfit with sprezzatura that avoids screaming for attention.
While Lapo and John Elkann are rather well known by many style aficionados, and many claim they wear A. Caraceni suits from their stylish grandfather Gianni Agnelli, most people do not know much about their father Alain Elkann. He and John dress rather conservatively in striped business suits or plain gray and blue outfits. In order to add a little splash of color, John often wears colorful wristbands. Alain is from an older generation and he limits himself to dark knit ties with limited color in his outfits. Unlike Lino(and many younger Italians), he wears his double breasted coats buttoned all the way.
Lapo, on the other hand, often wears rather flamboyant ensembles and diverges entirely from the dressing habits of Italian industrialists.
Take a look at the picture of Lapo & John Elkann in gray striped double breasted suits. The lapel is cut in such a way that the stripe disappears on the edge of the lapel. Although I am well aware that certain tailors in Italy do it this way, I do not like that look at all and prefer a striped line that runs along the edge of the lapel. What do you prefer?
Although born in Germany, Stephan Winkelmann – the current CEO of Lamborghini – has lived in Italy for 30 years. Therefore, it is expected that he dresses very similarly to his Italian peers.
Just like them, he wears dark – often striped – business suits and he prefers a keyhole buttonhole in his lapel. His shirts are mostly white with nice, large collars and his ties are plain, simple and dark. On his wrist, he wears a large watch and a few various wrist bands, but he rarely shows cuff.
Also, he prefers the button cuffs over double cuffs, and in the heat, he leaves them undone. His pocket square is usually white, folded in a simple TV fold. In combination with his slightly longer hair, these little details give him a certain kind of sprezzatura without ever putting him even close to the rakish dressers at Pitti Uomo.
The economic Italian elite seems to dress rather conservatively, yet always with a casual touch that their American, Asian or fellow European peers rarely possess. It can reach from as little as an undone button to a pair of espadrilles, but the Italians often understand how to lighten up their business outfits without looking unprofessional or out of place. It seems that the Italians’ general understanding of style is a infused element of their culture with room for individual interpretation.
What do you think about their style? Do you have an Italian Style Icon? What are your favorite casual quirks? If you like these pictures, you may also be interested in this tumblr.